Let’s Go to the PGL – A Let’s Go Cup Meta Preview

Are you guys ready? If so, then Let’s Go.

Let’s Go Cup was recently announced as a PGL special tournament. It features 1v1 battles where only the two mascot Pokémon of the upcoming Let’s Go Switch games are allowed to participate: Pikachu and Eevee. A player much choose a single Pokémon to enter the competition with, and are able to play up to 30 battles. There are no restrictions on items, nor are there any restrictions on the usage of Pokémon from previous generations. This is generally relevant for Pikachu, as it gains access to any of its past generation event limited moves.

I’ve done a fair bit of playing around in the format, and theory about how to play this 1v1 format successfully. Given that there are only two Pokémon that are legal, the scope of what you need to cover is much smaller than usual, even for a special WiFi tourney format. Movesets and EV spreads can be a lot more specialized as a result of this fact. But don’t let this fool you into thinking that this format is easily solvable, as both Eevee and Pikachu have a number of options that have a huge impact in the battle, along with a variety of potential tech moves to one-up each other.

At this moment there are three main strategies, and there’s generally a bit of a weapon triangle situation that has formed. While in Japanese, this is a pretty good tweet that sums up the situation:

 

Basically,
Pikachu beats Evoboost Eevee
Evoboost Eevee beats Eviolite Eevee
Eviolite Eevee beats Pikachu

With a few outliers like Scarf Eevee, and Sash Pikachu in the mix.

In this article, I’ll go over a number of noteworthy variants of Pikachu and Eevee and provide a bit of analysis and some sample sets. The sets will be those I’ve just generated personally, so please don’t just automatically assume that they will be definitive sets of the meta. This is very much a format that is open to using cheap gimmicks to try to reverse the tide of battle, sometimes you need to think a bit outside of the box to find what you need to get the job done. But at the same time, sometimes you need to accept that some matchups are going to be auto losses. Picking and choosing what kinds of things you want to auto-lose too will be key in determining how far you’ll go in the competition.

Pikachu

Let’s start with everyone’s favourite yellow mouse. Pikachu houses a lot more immediate offense compared to Eevee, but has a trade-off of having much worse defensive capabilities. Even a Pikachu with 0 Spd EVs will outspeed a 252 Spd Eevee, but Pikachu does also have itself to contend with. Admittedly, I haven’t used Pikachu as much personally in this format, but I still have done a bit of theory work regarding its sets, and to try to reverse engineer the thinking of the Pikachu I do run into on the ladder. While not perfect, it should still be representative enough of what Pikachu can do.

Fast Light Ball Physical

Pikachu: ○
Eviolite: x
Non-Eviolite: ◎, x if scarf

This is likely the most standardish looking Pokémon in the format in terms of what you could potentially see being run for a Pikachu / Eevee outside of Let’s Go Cup. It is also the kind of Pokémon I can see a lot of players playing this tourney more casually might run. This Pikachu just destroys non-Eviolite Eevee. Simple as that:

252+ Atk Light Ball Pikachu Volt Tackle vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Eevee: 142-168 (87.6 – 103.7%) — 25% chance to OHKO

Even if it can be made to have a good chance to survive, it’s not something that a good Fake Out or Quick Attack can’t fix. This Pikachu is also likely to be able to beat other Pikachu. Since it does not care much for its own survival at all, it can afford to jack up its speed to the max and just OHKO other Pikachu first before they can do anything.

252+ Atk Light Ball Pikachu Dig vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Pikachu: 140-166 (98.5 – 116.9%) — 93.8% chance to OHKO

The drawback to this Pikachu is that it simply cannot break Eviolite Eevee (barring crits). That kind of Eevee will easily tank a Volt Tackle, then KO back with Return, and there is little you can do about it when you’re going fast.

Sample Set:

Pikachu @ Light Ball
Ability: Static
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Fake Out
– Volt Tackle
– Return / Dig / Brick Break
– Encore / Quick Attack

Z-Focus Punch

Pikachu: △
Eviolite: ○
Non-Eviolite: ◎, x if scarf

Similar to the Light Ball physical Pikachu, but yet quite different. Z-Focus Punch is extremely powerful, and is able to hit Eevee even harder than a Light Ball Volt Tackle would deal. Z-Focus Punch also has the added benefit of not dealing a huge amount of recoil back to Pikachu, so that it may try to set up some more defensive plays. The catch is that you only have one shot at using the Z-move, and Pikachu’s damage output outside of using the Z-Focus Punch will be woefully lacking due to the absence of the Light Ball. So if you swing and hit into a Protect, it could spell trouble in the long-term.

Compared to the Light Ball Pikachu, this Pikachu fares a bit better vs Eviolite Eevee, but a bit worse vs Z-move Eevee and other Pikachu. Granted, the issue with other Pikachu is mostly as a result taking out speed to provide the proper additional defenses to take on Eviolite Eevee. If you choose to just run full speed on Z-Focus Punch Pikachu, you can. But it generally ends up not too much different from the fast Light Ball Physical Pikachu mentioned earlier.

Sample Set:

Pikachu @ Fightinium Z
Ability: Static
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Def
Adamant Nature
– Fake Out
– Focus Punch
– Brick Break
– Quick Attack / Encore

Notes:
Guaranteed to survive a Return + Quick Attack from 4 Atk EVs Eevee

Bulky Special

Pikachu: ○, x if Fast Physical Light Ball
Eviolite: ◎
Non-Eviolite: x, ○ if scarfed

This is a reaver Pikachu set, as reverses the usual matchup triangle. It actually is set up so that it can handle Eviolite Eevee, but it sacrifices its matchup vs Evoboost Eevee to make it happen. Pikachu is bulky enough to tank a Return + Quick Attack from most Eviolite Eevee while it 2HKOs back with Thunderbolt, and has enough bulk to try to take a Double-Edge from Scarf Eevee. A catch here is that Pikachu does not have enough EVs to spare to guarantee both objectives. It can either make itself guaranteed to take the DE, or guaranteed the 2HKO on 252 HP Eviolite Eevee, but not both.

HP Ground gives this Pikachu a way to KO other Pikachu, but Light Ball Pikachu can defeat you easily with a Fake Out + Return or using Dig. Fake Out + Z-Focus Punch is a roll with roughly similar odds of KOing as a 252+ Adamant Eevee Double Edge.

Sample Set:

Pikachu @ Light Ball
Ability: Static
Level: 50
EVs: 68 HP / 244 Def / 196 SpA
Bold Nature
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ground] – Encore
– Sleep Talk

Notes:
This sample set gives an example of trying to hedge success rates of the two objectives
81% chance to 2HKO 252 HP Eviolite Eevee
69% chance to survive Double-Edge from Scarf Eevee
Sleep Talk to help counter Yawn

Bulky Physical Light Ball

Pikachu: x
Eviolite: ○
Non-Eviolite: ◎, x if scarfed

A variation of the physical Light Ball Pikachu, that plays similarly to that of Z-Focus Punch variants, trading the raw strength of the single target attack for more consistent overall damage output. Pikachu needs more investment with Atk in order to score 2HKOs on Eviolite Eevee, so this set cannot handle Scarf Eevee, unlike the Special version. But, it does retain ability to handle Evoboost Eevee. Substitute can help deal with Eviolite Eevee, but sometimes things can become a bit of a guessing game between the kinds that have a game plan of winning by hitting Pikachu with Yawn, and the kinds that will just go in and try to KO you with a Return + Quick Attack. Since you’re generally slower than other Pikachu, and can still be OHKO’d by something like Z-Focus Punch, this Pikachu is one that doesn’t do that well in the mirror.

Sample Set:

Pikachu @ Light Ball
Ability: Static
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Def
Adamant Nature
– Fake Out
– Knock Off
– Brick Break
– Substitute / Sleep Talk

Focus Sash Counter

Wins vs Physical
Loses vs Special

This Pikachu is a fairly uncommon set, and generally quite a rogue set. It’s a set that sort of ignores the triangle and just follows its own rules, it wins vs physical sets and loses vs special. That’s about all there is to it.

Sample Set:

Pikachu @ Focus Sash
Ability: Static
Level: 50
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Lonely Nature
IVs: 0 HP / 0 Def / 0 SpD
– Counter
– Reversal
– Feint
– Protect

Notes:
I’m admittedly not too familiar with what these Pikachu would consider running beyond the namesake of the set.

Event Moves for Pikachu

Pikachu has a wide variety of Event moves. While people are free to test these moves out on something like the PS ladder for Let’s Go Cup, these are event moves from generations long forgotten. So I wouldn’t expect to see these show up quite as much in the actual event. But, if someone really wants to get these moves to use for their set, there’s probably a way. Some of the note worthy moves that Pikachu might use that are event exclusive include:

  • Extreme Speed
  • Yawn
  • Endeavor

Endeavor can be applied in similar ways to a Sash Counter set, while Extreme Speed and Yawn can be used as techs for other sets.

Eviolite Eevee

Eviolite Eevee is the general bulky option in this format. It has a lot of flexibility in the move choices it has without making its function too radically different with each iteration. In general, it has one main attacking move, and 3 moves of choice, and runs Bold/Impish nature with 252 EVs in Def to bolster its durability against some of the strong physical attacks out there such as Volt Tackle, Adaptability Double-Edge, and Z-Focus Punch.

Eviolite Eevee has a lot of situational move choices for its movesets, and often finds it possible to tech some combination of moves to try to one up opposing Eviolite Eevee in the mirror. As a result, I find it a bit more relevant to just talk about what moves can another Eviolite Eevee use to answer a given set.

Bulky Yawn

Pikachu: ○, ◎ if Fast Physical Light Ball
Eviolite Counter Techs: Toxic, Hyper Voice / Fake Tears, Substitute, Sleep Talk
Non-Eviolite: x, ◎ if scarfed

Bulky Yawn is a basic Eviolite Eevee set. It sets up a Yawn, Protects, and slowly chips away at the opponent while keeping healthy with Wish. It serves as a mon that tries to outlast the opponent, but is vulnerable to set up moves and passive damage. It generally has an advantage over Pikachu, but can run into some trouble vs ones with some physical defense and substitute, as it becomes a bit of a guessing game.

Sample Set:

Eevee @ Eviolite
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def
Impish Nature
– Return
– Yawn
– Wish / Rest
– Protect / Charm

Toxic Stall

Pikachu: △, ◎ if Fast Physical Light Ball
Eviolite Counter Techs: Toxic, Rest, Substitute, Refresh
Non-Eviolite: △, ◎ if scarfed

Similar to Yawn, except that it uses Toxic as its status move of choice. Other Eviolite Eevee will generally have a hard time taking out this Eevee before being taken out by Toxic, so their best ways of countering it is to be able to prevent being hit by Toxic or to be able to rid themselves of Toxic. Since you do not have Yawn, if you are facing a Pikachu that can survive a hit from Return, it is likely that you will just lose. However, because they will not know your set, there is some chance you can sneak a win because they get too cautious about something that isn’t there. In some cases, a trainer may try using Charm over Return or Protect.

Toxic Stall can also beat Evo Boost Eevee, so long as they are unable to hit hard enough to KO the Eevee through 1 turn of Wish healing, and that they don’t have some moves like Refresh or Substitute. The sample set is a physical variant, but a Special Attack version using Hyper Voice as the attacking move can be used as well.

Sample Set:

Eevee @ Eviolite
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def
Impish Nature
– Return / Charm
– Toxic
– Wish
– Protect / Charm

Quick Attack (Curse / Tickle)

Pikachu: ◎, x if Sash counter
Eviolite Counter Techs: Laser Focus, Hyper Voice, Sub (vs Tickle), Charm (vs Curse)
Non-Eviolite: x, ◎ if scarfed

This variant of Eviolite Eevee is a personal favourite of mine. It is simply an Eviolite Eevee that runs Quick Attack as a staple part of its strategy, followed by two tech moves to try to help cover some of its other matchups. Quick Attack allows this Eevee to have a more consistent Pikachu matchup as it is not reliant on stalling Pikachu with Yawn, and can focus on just going in aggressively.

While Quick Attack can be splashed onto various Eviolite Eevee sets, I’ll focus specifically on the use of Curse / Tickle for this section, and the counter techs will be based around that. The idea here would be to set up this Eevee then go after the opponent. The 4th move is often a defensive or healing move. Usually there won’t be room to have Protect on this set.

Curse vs Tickle

Both moves play similar roles, but each has their own advantages.

Curse is self-targetted, so you are able to buff up even if the opponent tries to use Substitite, or Protect. As a result, it cannot be prevented by the opponents actions.

Tickle has more PP, so it can be used to beat Curse in the mirror. Also, as a result of it being a debuff, it works better as a way to get around Charm, as it makes the eventual critical hit you land far more potent. Tickle also maintains your Speed stat.

Sample Set:

Eevee @ Eviolite
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 76 HP / 180 Atk / 252 Def
Impish Nature
– Return
– Quick Attack
– Curse / Tickle
– Rest / Sleep Talk / Yawn / Wish

Notes:
About a 88.3% chance to KO 4 HP / 252+ Def Pikachu with a Return + Quick Attack
1/256 chance to be 2HKO’d by Fake Out + Z-Focus Punch from 252+ Pikachu
a bit under 50/50 chance to be 3HKO’d by FO + Z-Focus Punch + Quick Attack from 252+ Pikachu
~1/32 chance to be 3HKO’d by FO + Z-Focus Punch + Quick Attack from 252 Pikachu

Special

Pikachu: ○, ○ if Fast Physical Light Ball
Eviolite Counter Techs: Toxic, Sleep Talk
Non-Eviolite: x, ◎ if scarfed

Special based Eviolite Eevee is generally an anti-meta option. As a lot of other Eviolite Eevee are focused on taking physical attacks, or weakening physical attacks, But Fake Tears + Hyper Voice can get around a lot of that. Pikachu can be a bit of a danger for Special Eevee, but the advantage is generally in Eevee’s favour due to them not knowing what set you have until it is too late. There may be some mind games when it comes to Substitute Pikachu. And, as usual, things usually don’t work out too well when dealing against Evoboost Eevee.

Sample Set:

Eevee @ Eviolite
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 188 HP / 252 Def / 68 SpA
Bold Nature
– Hyper Voice
– Fake Tears
– Yawn
– Protect

Notes:
68 SpA allows for a clean 2HKO on 252 HP Eviolite Eevee after a Fake Tears

Laser Focus

Pikachu: ○, ◎ if Fast Physical Light Ball
Eviolite Counter Techs: Toxic, Hyper Voice / Fake Tears, Substitute, Sleep Talk
Non-Eviolite: △, ◎ if scarfed

Laser Focus is a cheeky way for an Eviolite Eevee to be able to defeat an Evoboost Eevee. The idea here is that you hit them with Yawn on the turn they Evoboost, then tank a hit and set up Laser Focus, then crit to take down the opposing Eevee. However, this strategy is far from foolproof as a way to deal with Evoboost. If they have Yawn themselves, they can disrupt your combo, if they have Sleep Talk or Yawn they can potentially finish you off before you can perform, and there is possibility that the Evoboost Eevee just has a considerable amount of bulk in order to survive the Laser Focus auto-critical, and potentially even tank another attack after that. The set generally has choice between using Return or Double-Edge as its damaging move, but also a choice between Quick Attack and Protect. Quick Attack can improve the Pikachu matchup, while Protect lets Yawn work more effectively.

Sample Set:

Eevee @ Eviolite
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 76 HP / 180 Atk / 252 Def
Impish Nature
– Return / Double Edge
– Yawn
– Laser Focus
– Protect / Quick Attack

Non-Eviolite Eevee

Non-Eviolite Eevees generally come in three different types. Evoboost, Normalium-Z, and Choice Scarf. Each one is farily different from each other, though generally Evoboost is a big threat while the other two are a lot more rogue.

Evoboost

Pikachu: △
Eviolite: ◎
Non-Eviolite: ○

Pretty straightforward set up. Try to get your +2 boosts ASAP. Afterwards Stored Power should easily OHKO Pikachu and non-Eviolite Eevee, and will be a clean 2HKO on Eviolite Eevee. Eviolite Eevee has little to no counter play vs Evoboost Eevee as they will generally not be able to get any hits in before you can boost up, and after that the boosted Eevee can easily win on damage trades. Fringe cases that they can try to cause trouble may include ones with Laser Focus, and ones with Toxic. But Evoboost Eevee generally has space to tech in a move. Thus, usage of moves like Sleep Talk or Refresh can put away any of Eviolite Eevee’s futile struggles.

Pikachu is scary with Evoboost Eevee. Volt Tackle Light Ball sets are pretty much an auto-loss, but just about any other set can give you a chance to win if you are running a more bulky set. However, on the contrary, in the Evoboost Eevees mirror, it is generally a game where “the faster set wins”.

Sample Set:

Eevee @ Eevium Z
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 68 HP / 252 Def / 140 SpA / 4 SpD / 44 Spe
Bold Nature
– Stored Power
– Last Resort
– Refresh / Sleep Talk / Snore
– Protect

Notes:
Outspeeds Adamant Scarf Eevee after Evoboost
Guaranteed 2HKO to other Evoboosted Eevees with Stored Power if they are 252 HP
Has about a 71.1% chance to survive a combination of 252+ Pikachu using Fake Out, Z-Focus Punch into Protect, a Brick Break or Focus Punch (into +2 Def), and a Quick Attack into +2 Def

Normalium-Z

Pikachu: x
Eviolite: ○
Non-Eviolite: ◎

Normal-Z Eevee is generally uncommon. The goal of the set is to just outspeed and slam into other Eevees with a high power Breakneck Blitz and hopefully overpower the opposing eevee before it gets a chance to do anything. Eviolite Eevee will take about 70% at worst from Z-Last Resort, and after that they’re put in range for Double-Edge to finish the job. However, it is possible for Eviolite Eevee to fight back with a Return + Quick Attack, or if they choose to use Wish on the first turn. Non-Eviolite Eevee just get OHKO’d and have little to no counter-play. Normalium-Z Eevee is at the mercy of just about every Pikachu.

Sample Set:

Eevee @ Normalium Z
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Double-Edge
– Quick Attack
– Last Resort
– Sleep Talk

Notes:
Last Resort for extra Z-move damage
Sleep Talk in case of the attempt to shut you down with an opening Yawn + Protect

Choice Scarf

Pikachu: ◎
Eviolite: x
Non-Eviolite: ○

Choice Scarf Eevee is another reaver weapon kind of mon. It’s a set that outspeeds Pikachu and can just one-shot it with Double-Edge before it gets to do anything, but like a Pikachu, it can be outlasted by Eviolite Eevee who can often easily tank two Double-Edges, and KO back with a couple Returns. Sometimes, if they are desperate, they will go for Headbutt flinch strats. Non-Eviolite Sets may or may not get OHKO’d by a Double-Edge depending on their EV spreads. Also in some cases, an Evoboost Eevee will just run full bulk and end up slower than Scarf Eevee anyways, and runs some risk of being downed by a second Double-Edge.

Sample Set:

Eevee @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Adaptability
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Double-Edge
– Headbutt

Notes:
Honestly, does this thing even ever uses other moves?

With regards to the actual tourney itself, keep in mind that you aren’t allowed to just switch your Pokémon on a whim depending on the situation on the ladder unlike how things can be on the practice ladder on PS. You need to commit to one set o deal with everything that gets thrown at you. There’s no option for having a “newbie stomping” mode followed by a switch to something more anti-meta to deal with experienced players.

In general, I feel that Evoboost has the best bet against players who are more experienced with the meta, but at the same time may have to walk a trial by fire in the lower ladder zone. As there is a real possibility that stuff like glass cannon light ball Pikachu, or 252 SpA / 252 Spd Evoboost Eevee could end up being used by more casual players, both of which are auto-losses. On the other hand, Eviolite Eevee feels like the safest bet of a Pokémon to escape the lower ladder, but at the same time it may struggle to make a deep run vs some of the potential Evoboost teams that manage to survive.

This is all speculation of course, but I feel like if you want a decent finish, Bulky Eevee is a good choice. If you want to gun for #1, use Evoboost. If you want to be surprised (or if you have have some real sick tech with it), go Pikachu.

As mentioned earlier, this article serves to be more of a preview of some of the things you may see in this tournament. I am but one person, so I hardly classify as a person who is able to sculpt the entire metagame. Hopefully, for those interested in playing in this brief diversion, this article helps give you some ideas on what to choose. I look forward to seeing what kinds of things people come up with in this glorified rps format.

ROCK.
PAPER.
SCISSORS.

LET’S GO!!

One comment

  1. You forgot Celebrate as event move for Pikachu!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.